Product Type: Symantec partitions utilities
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In case your computer goes bump in the night….
Symantec Norton Ghost 2001
Member Name: pookie_rabbit
Symantec Norton Ghost 2001
Date: 12/07/01, updated on 13/07/01 (1164 review reads)
Advantages: Time saver, Data saver
Disadvantages: Various confusing versions, No multiple NT images with 2001
Norton Ghost seems to come in many different shapes and sizes at the moment – this review is actually on Norton Ghost 2001 but I shall mention the other versions and options available during the review.
This review has been placed under backup software but Norton Ghost is much more than just that – although it is good as backup software as well!
What Ghost is really good at is cloning (or imaging) PC’s. Imagine you work in a fairly large corporation that installs a number of identical PC’s each month but has to spend time on each one configuring them to a standard desktop. What Ghost allows you to do is create a standard image on one PC, image it and then put this image on all of the other machines. More on this later.
As I said Ghost is also good at just imaging your machine so if totally fails you can just restore it totally from scratch.
Ghost could also come up in handy if you run out of disk space. Imagine you have a 4GB disk at the moment and need to install a new 10GB disk into your PC. Just use Ghost to backup the current disk, replace your hard disk and then restore the Ghost image to your new hard disk.
Firstly though a quick run through what operating systems Ghost actually runs on. The box states that Ghost runs on Windows 95, 98, ME, NT and 2000 although this isn’t entirely true. Firstly Ghost is really a DOS application and actually what really happens is you can create the boot disk required for it in a Windows environment.
What this doesn’t also tell you is that Ghost will happily image a Linux machine also – as long as you boot from a DOS disk again.
So how do you store your image? Well you can pretty store your image on anything that is large enough to save everything on your hard disk. Choices include everything from CD, Iomega Zip, Iomega Jazz to actually imaging to another computer. We shall look at these different options.
The method I first used was with an Iomega Jazz u
nit. Basically you booted with a DOS disk, started the Jazz drivers and then ran Ghost and created the image to the Jazz disk. The Jazz disks are 1 or 2GB in size, which should be enough. The problem with Jazz is it can be a little slow – then again you can just set the process going and leave it for a couple of hours. Unless you intend to possibly span disks I would forget about using an Iomega Zip drive which has a maximum capacity of 250MB.
I had to create the above disks manually as the application known as the ‘Norton Ghost Boot Wizard’ which runs within Windows and creates your boot disks did not have an option to create an Iomega boot disk – maybe I am just missing something?
If you had a Linux machine by the way you would have to create your boot disks on a Windows based machine as I stated earlier.
The next boot method I tried was creating a ‘CR-ROM Boot Disk’ from the boot wizard. This turned out to be a really useful option but only under certain circumstances. If you have a supported CD writer (quite a long list) this disk allows you to boot to DOS and write your image to CD – spanning CD’s if necessary. This is fine of course if you have a CD writer in your PC. If we go back to talking about PC’s in a corporation not many will. I did notice a little light at the end of that tunnel however, although I didn’t test it. One of the supported models was the Iomega ZipCD, which I believe is an external model. If this worked you could use this writer on multiple machines.
The next option is to create a ‘Peer to Peer Network boot disk’. This allows you to connect two computers via a network cable. A number of network cards are supported including most new 3Com models in particular.
The final option is to create a standard boot disk with ‘LPT and USB support’. With this option you can clone and image from one machine to another linked via either your LPT port (
your printer port) or USB port.
Incidentally you may have wondered why Ghost is really a DOS based application. In truth it makes sense, as you couldn’t really run Ghost within a GUI operating system where a number of files are open and such forth.
Ghost 2001 comes with one other Windows application known as the ‘Ghost Explorer’. This lets you look at the image files you have created an alter them. For instance you can choose to just restore a directory from the image.
Finally as I said at the beginning of this review there are other copies of Ghost around. Before 2001 there was version 6.5 and before that version 6. If you can pick of one of these cheap they where also good products – check for all the features you require before buying however.
The largest difference is with Ghost Enterprise edition. To confuse matters this seems to be called Ghost version 7. I am afraid a review of the enterprise edition is beyond the scope of this article. One feature it does include is called ‘Ghostwalker’. This allows you to clone Windows NT machines and then make them unique. Because of the way security works in Windows NT and Windows 2000 you should not use Ghost 2001 to make images you are going to put on other machines.
I hope this review gives you a small insight into some of the possibilities available with Norton Ghost. I am sure I will find more information on Ghost the more I use it and I will add information on this if and when I discover it.